Hilary Bonnell and accused killer both seen on security video
Caught on camera three minutes apart same day Hilary went missing
Hilary Bonnell and her accused killer, Curtis Bonnell, were both captured on videotape surveillance at a service station on the day the 16-year-old went missing, a Miramichi courtroom heard on Wednesday.
They showed up on camera just minutes apart the morning of Sept. 5, 2009.
Hilary's body was found in a wooded area two months later.
Bonnell, 32, of the Esgenoopetitj First Nation in northeastern New Brunswick, is charged with the first-degree murder of Hilary, his first cousin.
Bonnell has pleaded not guilty.
The victim's mother, Pam Fillier, who testified at the trial Wednesday, identified her daughter and Bonnell in the surveillance video, which was shown to the jury.
Hilary is seen walking in and out of the 4D convenience store some time between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. About three minutes later, Bonnell drives up in a pickup truck, makes a purchase, and drives away.
Neither were at the store at the same time and Bonnell's defence lawyer pointed out they were going in opposite directions when they left — Hilary towards Micmac Road and Bonnell toward Highway 11.
The Crown alleges Curtis Bonnell picked up Hilary on Sept. 5, as she was walking along Micmac Road in the northeastern community after a party.
Bonnell is accused of holding Hilary against her will, sexually assaulting her, killing her and then driving her to an isolated location, far from the reserve, all within half an hour, prosecutor Bill Richards said.
Hilary's mother filed a missing persons report two days later.
Hilary's body was discovered in a wooded area near Tracadie-Sheila after more than two months of searching. RCMP officers testified Tuesday that Bonnell had led them to her buried remains.
Hilary's mother told the court she and Hilary had moved to Miramichi from Esgenoopetitj a couple of years prior, but Hilary missed her friends. So in the summer of 2009, Hilary spent a lot of her time in Esgenoopetitj, staying with friends and Fillier's sister.
Fillier said Hilary kept in touch daily to tell her how she was doing, what she was doing and where she was.
The night before she went missing, Hilary was supposed to sleep at her aunt's house, but never showed up. She ended up at a party instead, said Fillier.
Hilary's last contact with her mother was a phone call at 3:11 a.m. on Sept. 5. Hilary sounded like she had been drinking, Fillier said. She told Fillier she was having fun and asked whether she was going to take her shopping in the morning.
Fillier described her daughter as strong-willed and said she spoiled her too much.
During cross-examination, Fillier told the court she had put Hilary in a group home for two months during the fall of 2008. She said Hilary had behavioural problems and, like other teenagers, was getting a bit out of control, drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana.
Although police said Hilary had a history of running away, with eight reports filed within a couple of years, Fillier said the only reports were during the time she was staying at the group home. When she would leave, a report would be filed, Fillier said.
About 45 witnesses are expected to be called in the trial, which is expected to last up to eight weeks.
The judge had asked Hilary's family to leave the courtroom on Tuesday because he didn’t want them to be influenced by other witnesses.
The family asked the lawyers to arrange the witness list to move up the family members, so they could watch the rest of the trial.
On Tuesday, RCMP Const. Joany Paradis testified about the final three text messages between Hilary and her cousin, Haylie.
"OMG Haylie, I want to leave," Hilary texted to her cousin Haylie at about 7:25 a.m., Const. Joany Paradis testified in Miramichi provincial court.
"Please answer me, I'm scared," Hilary wrote at 7:52 a.m., said Paradis.
"OMF, text me, I'm scared," was Hilary's last message, sent at about 8:20 a.m., the officer told the courtroom.